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"Prime" Movie Review

Not Ready for "Prime" Time


Bryan Greenberg and Uma Thurman in

Bryan Greenberg and Uma Thurman in "Prime"

© Universal Pictures
I’m in no way exaggerating when I say “Prime” throws in every single romantic comedy cliché that exists without coming up with one original moment over the course of the film.

Lacking chemistry between the romantic leads or an engaging story, “Prime” quickly succumbs to silly jokes about religious stereotypes and the shapes of penises. “Prime’s” writer/director Ben Younger ("Boiler Room") also resorts to repeating the same lines with only slightly minor variations for what seems like an eternity but in fact is actually only one hour and 45 minutes.

The story is pretty basic and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the very small plot twist way before it’s revealed. Uma Thurman stars as Rafi, a 37 year-old newly single woman whose best friends like to remind her that her biological clock is winding down. She has lots of stereotypical gay friends, is in therapy, and having just signed her divorce papers, figures out that a 23 year-old pretty boy (played by newcomer Bryan Greenberg) is just the ticket to happiness in the sack.

Why she falls so quickly for this much younger guy who’s handsome as hell but doesn’t seem to have much going on between his ears isn’t really explained, but we can imagine it’s all sexual. Actually, we don’t even have to imagine that’s the reason because we constantly see the two lovers shedding their clothes at the drop of a hat. Scenes are actually interrupted mid-stride so that we get another opportunity to see these two gorgeous creatures in bed together (though with sheets and other items strategically placed). Forget about trying to tell a coherent story or filling out the film with more than just caricatures, writer/director Younger seems to think none of that is as important as showing the audience just how randy these two are.

Meryl Streep co-stars as Thurman’s therapist in a role that wastes her talent and has her expressing emotions by rubbing her face and playing with her glasses. The face/glass touching becomes both annoying and distracting quickly into the film and you’ve got to wonder why Younger didn’t figure that out during production. Streep’s still one of the best actresses of her generation (even if she occasionally picks a real clunker to star in) and can certainly portray emotional turmoil without rubbing her eyes.

Jon Abrahams has perhaps the only interesting role in the film. He plays Thurman’s boy toy’s best friend, a disturbed man who gets his jollies by throwing pies at women who refuse to go out on a second date with him. Though his character's obnoxious and pathetic, Abrahams’ supporting role is the only one in the movie that doesn't come off as though it was written as an afterthought.

Given the fact he’s not required to do more than look handsome, it’s difficult to tell if Bryan Greenberg’s got much going for him as an actor other than his good looks. He's playing a totally one-dimensional character and until he's tested in a better role, I'm withholding judgment on where the fault lies with this particular performance.

The story is so ‘Movie of the Week’-ish it made me wonder what would have happened to this film had it not benefited from the star power of Thurman and Streep. I’m thinking “Prime” would have – and should have – gone straight to video. I suggest you wait until it does to see it and then only as a last resort when the good romantic comedies are all rented out.


"Prime" was directed by Ben Younger and is rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue and for language.

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